ERIE, Pa. – It could be the most painful RBI Luis Exposito will experience in his career.

Exposito took a 2-1 pitch off his left hand with the bases loaded and two outs to drive in the winning run as Portland defeated Erie 4-3 before 2,467 at Jerry Uht Park on Tuesday.

“It’s a tough situation; I mean, the pitcher isn’t trying to do that. He wants to come after me,” Exposito said. “The ball slipped and fortunately we got the win.

“I just wanted to relax with the pressure on him and wait for my pitch. That’s all I can do.”

Exposito’s RBI capped a ninth-inning rally by the Sea Dogs, who fell behind 3-0 early in the game. Matt Sheely singled with one out, but was caught stealing at second base. Nate Spears then walked before Ryan Khoury singled to left field. Ray Chang laid off several close pitches to walk, loading the bases for Exposito.

Chih-Hsien Chiang, Sheely and Chang each finished with two hits as Portland improved to 30-27.

Sea Dogs closer Bryce Cox recorded his seventh save with an up-and-down ninth. He forced a pop fly to start the inning, but Andy Bouchie singled and Justin Henry walked to put the tying and winning runs on base. He then struck out Andy Dirks and Josh Burrus to end the game.

“(Cox) comes in and throws strikes,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “He’s an aggressive guy and makes guys swing the bat.”

Erie starter Andy Oliver threw in the low 90s and located his pitches well, but the Sea Dogs broke through in the third. Spears and Chang singled before Exposito crushed a fastball into the gap in left-center field to drive in both. Yamaico Navarro also doubled to score Exposito, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

While the offense spotted him a three-run lead, Stephen Fife was effective early against the SeaWolves (26-31). He was activated from the disabled list Sunday to make his first start since May 27, but his start was pushed back to Tuesday after Sunday’s game was rained out.

Fife retired his first 11 batters before Deik Scram, who had just returned to the SeaWolves after being sent down from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday morning, sneaked a single through the right side. After a balk, Cesar Nicolas ripped a single to center field to score Scram.

Erie added two runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Bouchie and a sacrifice fly by Dirks to tie the game, 3-3. Fife was not involved in the decision after allowing six hits in six innings while striking out four and allowing one walk.

“Fife did a nice job and has been solid for us all season,” Beyeler said.

“We strung some two-out hits together and took advantage of some walks in the ninth to put pressure on their pitcher.”

Portland will try to clinch a series win tonight, sending Robert Coello to the mound against Erie left-hander Duane Below.